Burned out borders review: 'sharp divide' lp

ALBUM REVIEW: ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' LP

Astronomique’s new studio release, Sharp Divide, is the band’s first full length collection, and they’ve amassed a powerful bevy of songs for this important benchmark in their career. None of the songs are remotely self-indulgent (a semi-frequent knock on acts working in the synth pop genre), and songwriters, Sean Hogan (the band’s guitarist) and lead vocalist, Logan Andra Fongemie, craft distinctly darker musical narratives than a lot of their peers. Their subject matter has a decidedly different slant as well – you’ll find precious little in the way of “it’s Friday night and let’s have a good time” or “boy meets girl” songwriting on Sharp Divide. There’s a strongly personal and intimate feel to Sharp Divide, and there’s plenty of imagination powering this album as well. 

'Forefathers' introduces us to one of the album’s strongest suits: the engine room of bass player, Preston Saari, and drummer, Mitch Billings. They have a kinetic rapport with Hogan’s guitar and Fongemie’s vocals, even on a recording, so it’s intriguing to wonder what they could accomplish live with these songs. 'We Disappear' has a relentless thump with bass and drums working in lockstep with one another, peppered with staccato guitar rhythms that expand with the song’s chorus and bridge. The chiming guitar effect achieved by Hogan is effective in lightening the song’s melancholy mood without making it unfamiliar to vibe of the other songs. Despite any differences in approach, there’s a common stylistic and sonic thread uniting these songs.

The pulsing synthesizer intro to 'Losing Our Control' sets the stage for one of Sharp Divide’s most forceful tracks. Saari's gurgling bass is particularly effective. He knows when to shift into a different gear, and seamlessly does so. Hogan’s guitar is clear and punchy here without ever dominating the performance. 'Sharp Divide,' the album’s title track, has a more spartan musical thrust than the previous tracks. Astronomique’s individual brand of synth pop continues to flex its muscles here, although in a decidedly darker, more thoughtful fashion than the album’s straight-forward numbers. 'Smoke' has a stronger synthesizer base than most of the album’s other songs, but it’s nonetheless quite successful and features one of Fongemie’s best vocal performances on Sharp Divide

'Bleed Me' is another of the darker tracks from Astronomique’s latest record that will decidedly gain listener’s attention. It’s one of Fongemie’s most impassioned, haunting performances on Sharp Divide, and the intensely human quality of her voice plays off nicely against her synthesizer melodies. Billings and Saari, once again, lay down a steady groove for the song. 'Heading Nowhere,' the album’s finale, flaunts a less defined of groove with Saari and Billings as standouts once again, leading the song's instrumentation in their performance. Astronomique’s Sharp Divide is their strongest release yet and clears the road ahead for even greater triumphs to come.

- Drew East, Burned Out Borders

Music of the world review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE: 'SHARP DIVDE' LP

Astronomique return to the fray with their first full length release, following up on a pair of successful EP releases, which have established them as a major force in synth pop today. Their ten-song record, Sharp Divide, covers an impressive breadth of sound while remaining internally consistent and tied together by unity of tone and themes. Lead singer, Logan Andra Fongemie, and guitarist, Sean Hogan, are the primary creative movers behind the project, but they are ably accompanied by a powerhouse rhythm section of bassist, Preston Saari, and drummer, Mitch Billings. The rhythm section makes it presence felt on every song, but ultimately, the heart of the album lies with the conceptual and musical ideas shared by the aforementioned vocalist and guitar player. Astronomique has reached a new peak with the release of Sharp Divide, but there’s every indication among these ten songs that the band hasn’t fully realized their potential - though they are quite obviously on their way. 

'Forefathers' brings us immediately into Astronomique’s musical world, and it’s steered for the most part, by the rhythm section’s stellar interplay. The production emphasizes their role in the songs to a greater and lesser degree throughout the album’s ten songs, but the performance shines through because of talent rather than fortuitous production choices. There is a much more forceful dance beat driving 'Side of Your Mind' forward, and Billings’ relentless drumming is key to the rambunctious feel of the song. Fongemie’s synthesizer playing streaks over the steady rhythm section on 'Losing Our Control' - one of Sharp Divide’s clearest highlights, which succeeds largely thanks to Fongemie’s visceral, fluid synthesizer work. Hogan’s guitar makes a deep impression as well, and Fongemie’s vocal performance is one of the best yet from this talented singer. 

The title track, 'Sharp Divide,' creates a lot of space for the music to breathe, and Hogan’s echo wreathed guitar crafts a solid melody to hook listeners in. Fongemie’s synthesizer has a more ornamental air than we customarily hear on Sharp Divide, but her singing has the same dream-like ambiance distinguishing so many of the album’s songs. There’s some truly exceptional melodic breaks built into the song, 'Smoke,' which returns the songwriting to territory where keyboards and synthesizer are much more prominent while still effectively weaving with Hogan’s guitar work. Saari and Billings, likewise, play a reduced role in the song’s eventual outcome, but their presence is always felt while providing a solid foundation for the song’s ambitions. 

'Bleed Me' is one of the more fatalistic turns this album takes, and the synthesizer work does a good job of strengthening the intense mood. Despite the typical production job surrounding Fongemie’s performance, it stands out as one of her finest moments on the album, with a vocal delivery every bit as forceful as the backing music. The finale, Heading Nowhere,' has a more moderate tempo than some of the other songs on Sharp Divide, but it nonetheless feels like a definitive closer despite its downcast mood. Sharp Divide isn’t necessarily a cheerful sounding album, but there’s immense beauty in the various tapestries of sound Astronomique conjure for their audience. Sharp Divide, if nothing else, showcases that there is a gulf between the talents of this band and virtually every other outfit working in the synth pop style today. It’s one of the year’s best full length releases.

 - Laura Dodero, Music Of The World

Pop Music paradise review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' (2018)

Sharp Divide is the first full length album from synth pop four piece, Astronomique, and it's a memorable release from beginning to end. The ten songs included on this album cover a gamut of synth pop poses, and capture listener’s imagination from the start with the relaxed atmospherics behind the song, 'Forefathers.' The synth pop leanings of Astronomique seek out instrumental balance a lot more than many acts in this style typically do, but there’s no question the material deserves the label. Assertive performances from drummer, Mitch Billings, and bass player, Preston Saari, however, always keep the band near funky or pop rock with the muscular performances they often provide. 'Side of Your Mind' has more energy than the opener, primarily concentrated around the synthesizer playing, but Hogan’s guitar brings a lot to this song as well. Fongemie gives a loose-limbed, confident performance striding through the song, and her synthesizer playing is likewise top notch, especially during a short instrumental break she takes in the song’s second half. 

'We Disappear' begins with a synth fanfare, a common introduction on Sharp Divide, soon transforming into a song with a consistent thudding pulse reverberating throughout the track’s entirety. The base of the performance is, of course, the tandem of Saari and Billings, and the guitar takes a supporting role to the synthesizers in terms of providing instrumental color. 'Losing Our Control' returns with the guitar holding a pivotal position in the mix, while still keeping Fongemie’s synthesizer work up front as well. One of the crucial factors sending this song over the top is the five-star vocals Fongemie provides. The feel noticeably darkens with the album’s title song, 'Sharp Divide,' but there’s some reprieve in the track as both the chorus and bridge alike feature some lovely, distinct guitar work from Sean Hogan. 

'Smoke' has a tighter lock on the synthesizer as a lead instrument than most songs on Sharp Divide, and both Hogan’s guitar and Fongemie’s singing are arguably more adorned with theatrics than any of the previous cuts. It’s another fine lyrical performance on an album that may not be properly appreciated for its writing. Fongemie and Hogan do a superb job bringing together seeming disparate influences and ideas into a coherent, deeply artistic whole. Mitch Billings’ drumming generates a nice trot for the song, 'Unspoken,' and the crystalline guitar fills from Hogan are quite complementary to Fongemie’s voice. Placed back to back with 'Smoke,' the two songs launch the album’s second half in a memorable way. The album’s concluding curtain, 'Heading Nowhere,' is a final tortured musical missive from Astronomique’s creative world, and the pairing of Fongemie’s voice with the effects laden musical sound makes for compelling listening. Even if they are a synth pop band, there’s plenty going on with Astronomique to help them draw fans from multiple different styles, and that’s a testament to the level of accomplishment and polish they bring to their latest release, Sharp Divide.

-Mike Yoder, Pop Music Paradise

Hipsters, hippies, and dreamers review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' (2018)

Astronomique’s latest studio release and first full length album, Sharp Divide, contains ten songs that redefine what synth pop is still capable of in 2018. The album begins in a memorable way with 'Forefathers' and its booming rhythm section, which consists of drummer, Mitch Billings, and bass player, Preston Saari. The tandem songwriting and conceptual exploration of lead singer, Logan Andra Fongemie, and guitar player, Sean Hogan, is evident from the start, but equally evident is their desire to present Astronomique's material as a unified band effort. Things take an even better turn with the album’s second song, 'Side of Your Mind,' a track that Fongemie puts her stamp on early in with a strong, catchy vocal melody. Although not one of the album’s prevalent strengths, melody plays an underrated role in the band’s music, and is often invoked through Fongemie’s vocals. Billings' and Saari’s rhythm section stands out once again, and practically dares the listener to not respond physically to the beat. 

Bright synthesizer flares punctuate the opening of 'We Disappear,' and we’re treated to one of the rockier tracks you’ll hear from Astronomique - thanks, in large part, to Hogan’s gritty guitar work. The synthesizer recedes in earnest once the song begins, but it continues to reappear and provide a strong instrumental counterpoint throughout the course of the song. 'Losing Our Control' is one of the album’s highlights, mainly due to the romping character of Fongemie’s synthesizer lines. While Fongemie's synth playing sets the tone for a number of songs on Sharp Divide, it's use in 'Losing Our Control' is one of the album's most effective moments. Despite the mid tempo pace of the title track, 'Sharp Divide,' there’s a more meditative edge to this song as compared to earlier numbers on the record. This isn’t a radical departure, however, as the band’s skill with crafting a memorable chorus comes across once again, with catchy hooks overlaid by great guitar playing from Hogan. 

A swell of synthesizers opens the track, 'Unspoken,' which then launches into a slightly uptempo jaunt, finding Saari’s bass line popping and Billings laying down crisp, confident accompaniment. Saari on bass has an effortless talent for expanding the sound of each chorus, and he definitely excels with this track. 'Hardly Deliberate' has a restless, rolling quality, which revolves around Hogan’s hypnotic guitar riffs, interspersed with key drum fills from Billings. The final song on Sharp Divide, 'Heading Nowhere,' has a slightly more ethereal quality than its immediate predecessor, with echo surrounding Fongemie’s breathy, upper-register vocals more completely than before. If Astronomique intends to bring the album to an end with a song encapsulating the band’s merits, 'Heading Nowhere' definitely fits the bill. Few albums in any genre are as solid as Astronomique's 2018 release, Sharp Divide, and it should garner them the attention they richly deserve.

- Wendy Owen, Hipsters, Hippies, and Dreamers

Growing old with rock and roll review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' ALBUM REVIEW

Pop, synth pop, whatever label you want to assign to Astronomique, it still rates as some of the most across-the-board compelling music released on the indie scene today. Their artistic vision slants towards the substantive end of the creative spectrum, driven by the creative partnership of lead singer, Logan Andra Fongemie, and guitarist/vocalist, Sean Hogan, and coupling a psychedelic flavor with popular culture imagery and a penchant for artsy, top shelf synth pop from the 1980’s. The music for Sharp Divide, the band’s longest collection yet, is a physical release whose music involves listeners from the first. The songwriting engages listeners intellectually as well, and appeals to the imagination in satisfyingly individualistic ways. The band’s influences are apparent, but they slip free of imitation or pastiche with an approach and style recognizable, but all their own. 

The intense bass pulse thudding in the heart of 'Forefathers,' the album’s opener, tethers the song’s foundation to earth and allows Astronomique’s synthesizer lines to flash like quicksilver over the fat backbeat. There’s some tasty dynamic shifts recurring throughout the song, and the atmospheric interplay between Fongemie’s keyboard playing and guitarist, Sean Hogan’s, echo laden guitar near the song’s conclusion are worth hearing alone. 'Side of Your Mind' has a more overt pop attack than the opener, and the sprightly rhythm shifts the listener’s attention away from the opener’s pace. There are some imaginative twists scattered throughout the arrangement, elevating this above your standard synth pop fare. Fongemie’s vocal performance, treated by some light post production effects, comes across every bit as commanding as 'Forefathers,' albeit manifested in a very different way. 

The digitized beginning to 'Losing Our Control' establishes the initial outlines of a simmering groove, soon filled out by another potent rhythm section performance from bassist, Preston Saari, and drummer, Mitch Billings. Sean Hogan’s taut, nervy guitar playing drops some funky, often shimmering fills throughout the track, and the band contributes some tasteful backing vocals to enhance another fine Fongemie performance. The title song, 'Sharp Divide's,' moody march has an almost spectral quality, thanks to a ghostly Fongemie vocal and more spartan, but effective, Hogan guitar. Guitar players often possess a tendency to flash their skills in brief displays of pride, sometimes longer than brief, but Hogan’s playing throughout Sharp Divide as an orchestral bent – he’s an important part of the tapestry, but ultimately a key thread in a larger mosaic. 

Fongemie’s synth once again opens a song with the track, 'Smoke,' and the rhythm section distinguishes themselves again with a chest rattling performance. The album’s overall production wisely highlights this strength from the first. 'Smoke' has some of Sharp Divide’s strongest melodic ideas and fine lyrical content. There’s more of a hard charging quality at the heart of 'Bleed Me' than we hear with a lot of the material on Sharp Divide, but the band retains their capacity for nuance despite the music’s insistent push. The nice gallop in the rhythm section’s performance, never pronounced, gives the song an added sense of urgency. The cheerfully entitled, 'Heading Nowhere,' has a much more deliberate pace and a strong focus on guitars and synthesizers instead of the rhythm section. It has some of the album’s best atmospheric touches, particularly thanks to Hogan’s six string contributions, and it is a satisfying final curtain for Astronomique’s Sharp Divide. This is synth pop with an artistic agenda and they accomplish everything they set out to do with sophistication, sincerity, and polish.

- Jason Hillenburg, Growing Old With Rock and Roll

Flatbasset radio's #1 most played record: 'sharp divide' lp

FLATBASSET RADIO'S 25 MOST PLAYED ALBUMS: JUNE 2018

01. Astronomique - Sharp Divide (72 plays)

02. Flip Rushmore - Big, If True (70 plays)

03. Rancid - Life Won't Wait (67 plays)

04. Scrunchies - Stunner (65 plays)

05. Bruce Springsteen- Human Touch (57 plays)

06. Dennis - Alien Fantasy (54 plays)

07. V/A - Unpop 161 (48 plays)

08. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals (43 plays)

09. V/A - Spring 2018 (Z Tapes Compilation) (42 plays)

10. Coldplay - Viva La Vida Or Death AndAll His Friends (40 plays)

11. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges (39 plays)

12. Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (36 plays)

13. Haley - Big Star (35 plays)

14. Roma di Luna - Casting The Bones (35 plays)

15. Naked Raygun - All Rise (34 plays)

16. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (33 plays)

17. Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (32 plays)

18. Sixo - The Odds Of Free Will (32 plays)

19. The Dickies - Dawn Of The Dickies (30 plays)

20. Superteen - Exponential SUPERTEEN (30 plays)

21. The Cool Kids - The Bake Sale (30 plays)

22. Billy Bragg & Wilco - Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1 (30 plays)

23. The Evening Rig - Never Been'er (30 plays)

24. PUP - The Dream Is Over (30 plays)

25. The Eternal - Witness To An Execution (30 plays)

- TC Droogsma, Flatbasset Radio
 

Divide and conquer features 'sharp divide' LP

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE'

TOP ALBUM: 4.1 out of 5

Astronomique is a band comprised of Logan Andra Fongemie (vocals/synth), Sean Hogan (guitar/vocals), Mitch Billings (drums/vocals) and Preston Saari (bass). The band released Sharp Divide in June of 2018. This thirty six-minute album is jam packed with memorable melodies, danceable beats, and fantastic delivery.

Astronomique's music mixes elements of ’80s new wave, funk, and some rock, to say the least. This type of music, which often goes by the name of synth pop, has seen a resurgence with movies like Drive, record labels like Italians Do It Better, and bands like The Chromatics. Things get shaking with 'Forefathers,' which combines atmospheric pads, a steady beat, and a driving bass. The song sparkles and explodes when the chorus comes in. I was hooked and loved the vocal qualities that Fongemie had to offer.

The band borrows some French disco and ’70s funk in the spirit of Daft Punk on 'Side of Your Mind.' I loved the groove and slight transition in time periods. There is another shift with 'We Disappear,' which embraces a number of staple moves from ’80s rock bands.

'Losing Our Control' is the arguable highlight. The groove and hook is just so slick. I have to give kudos to the bassist, Preston Saari, on this one - he really holds down the funk. The band mellow out a bit in a Joy Division post-punk type of way on the title track, 'Sharp Divide,' and perhaps get closest to dream pop (a la Beach House) on 'Smoke.'

The very well done flow of the album continues with 'Unspoken,' which is both funky and atmospheric. Blondie came to mind more so than ever on the glam rock inspired, 'Bleed Me,' while 'Hardly Deliberate' felt a little more aggressive than anything else on the album. The record closes with 'Heading Nowhere,' which is a little dark and misty, while also embracing catchy hooks.

I loved this album. There is zero fat in its thirty six-minutes, and it is packed with great songs from front to back. The ’80s nostalgia this album brings on made me want to watch Stranger Things, and in fact, I think I’m going to do that. And then throw a mini dance party with Astronomique's Sharp Divide pumping through my speakers.

- Matt Jensen, Divide and Conquer

Tuned Loud review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE: 'SHARP DIVIDE' - EVOKING EMOTION AND DREAMY NOSTALGIA

Astronomique arose by merging Logan Andra Fongemie’s (lead vocals, keys, lyrics) love of ‘60s psychedelia and Sean Hogan’s (guitar, vocals) passion for late ‘70s B-Grade sci-fi films with both members’ equal adoration for early ‘80s post punk and dark romanticism. It’s no surprise that these elements naturally progressed to what the band half-jokingly calls “Space Wave.” With a name borrowed from a French picture book out of Fongemie’s childhood, Lunette Astronomique, their influences are fondly conveyed. The addition of Mitch Billings on drums and Preston Saari on bass brings an organic, funky element to the band’s unique brand of space-age electro psych-pop.

The Minneapolis band, Astronomique, has released their latest 10 track album, Sharp Divide. As a musician and music producer turned music reviewer, I think I have a pretty solid grasp of what makes music good. Though all good music does not always play too everyone’s taste, there is no denying that this is an incredibly good album.

Great songwriting, incredible musicianship, and impeccable production quality. This album has great '80s overtones and a really truly rich sound. Sharp Divide is the type of album, anyone of any musical taste would find a hard time disliking.

Once in a while you come across music that you feel relates to you and your situation in life, and that almost seems like a soundtrack for your life's various phases. Astronomique's music does all of this, while evoking emotion and a dreamy nostalgia. They blend synth and guitar-based soundscapes seamlessly, with sultry melodies and easily danceable rhythms.

In truth, though musically different on the odd occasion, Astronomique remind me of an evolved version of one of the most elegant music groups of our time – Roxy Music. For those who don’t know the band or what I’m talking about, please check out Roxy Music's 1982 groundbreaking album Avalon.

Astronomique has the same magical formula for mixing rhythm and melody in a way that is both energizing and dreamily smooth at the same time. You’re always torn between listening to their music in a late-night club with an itch to dance, or experience it intimately with a set of top-tier headphones.

In fact, the minute 'Forefathers' kicked in, I began to savor the band’s understated power and total lushness between instrumentation and vocals.  Massive, epic, and ridiculous in so many good ways. At times I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, and kept having to get up and check what band I was listening to. 'Side of Your Mind' delivers a funky and groovy retro vibe for three minutes of pure listening or dancing pleasure.

Astronomique's music has an energy that quietly builds throughout each song. The overarching feeling is an air of optimism and hope, as well as a longing for something unknown. 'We Disappear' launches straight into the 1980s with a resonant melodic synth and a crunchy over-driven guitar, giving the song it’s momentum.

'Losing Our Control' showcases a jangling guitar strum that beautifully dominates the track, as Fongemie weaves her dream pop vocals through the nooks and crannies of the arrangement. There are not many artists that truly focus on their sound as meticulously as this band.

Astronomique really does this, and it is profound on the title track, 'Sharp Divide.' Here the instrumental interplay delivers a song that is richly layered, yet well separated stem-wise. Some bands just know how to reach perfection, and that is what Astronomique do on 'Smoke.' Each time you listen to this track, you hear something you missed before.

'Unspoken' is an upbeat, reverb-filled cut which will probably drive you to the dance-floor, and 'Bleed Me' sticks to the same upbeat retro tropes. 'Hardly Deliberate' is motorized by a thumping set of drums and a whirling synth solo, while 'Heading Nowhere' has a mesmeric cadence and emotionalism that’s capable of sending the listener into a trance.

Sharp Divide is a fantastic retrospection of music that reaches back a few eras, yet there is nothing archaic or out-of-date here. On the contrary, it is fresh and modern. It’s as if a music formula is being unearthed from the past, and somehow repackaged and taken in new directions with the help of today’s technology. And it’s such a tightly woven production that you will have it on replay for weeks on end.

-Tuned Loud

News whistle presents 'sharp divide' lp

GREAT NEW ALBUMS FROM ASTRONOMIQUE, KADHJA BONET, AND MORE!

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE'

Astronomique has been on our radar for a little while now because we love good, smart, dreamy synth pop. Who doesn’t? Astronomique is the soundtrack to your dreams, so don’t fight it. Close your eyes, and let the lush celestial ambience of the moon reflected on a rippling pond wash over you. Sharp Divide is romantic, gothic, rhythmic, and insistent, ready to worm its way into your long-term memory.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: 'Losing Our Control'

- Chad Werner, News Whistle

Mostly Minnesota review: 'Sharp Divide' release show

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'SHARP DIVIDE' CD RELEASE AT SEVENTH STREET ENTRY

I’m a fan of Astronomique. I often feel like their show sounds like Barbarellalooks. It’s retro and funky and techno. It’s a dated glimpse at the future. The latest material sounds smoother, calmer, maybe dreamier than earlier material.

I enjoyed the title track from the new CD – Sharp Divide. The live and recorded versions are quite different. Live the song feels like a clever repetition of a simple tune but the recorded version feels more layered; it sounds like a much larger band when really there are only four of them: Logan Andra Fongemie on lead vocals and synth, Sean Hogan on guitar and vocals, Mitch Billings on drums and vocals and Preston Saari on bass guitar.

The keyboard really adds the retro-future feel to the songs. The drum is solid and especially prevalent when live. And the strings keep the band firmly grounded in a rock sense. There are elements of music from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s across the album. There’s somethings familiar but new. It would make a great house party soundtrack.

- Ann Treacy, Mostly Minnesota

The music producer review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE: LP REVIEW - 'SHARP DIVIDE'

EP Release Date: 9th June 2018
Genre: Space Wave/Synth-Pop/Dark wave/Space Pop/Dance/ Dream Pop/Dark Disco/Alternative/Electro-Pop/New Wave/Post Punk/Disco
Members: Logan Andra Fongemie, Sean Hogan, Mitch Billings, Preston Saari
Label: Independent

ASTRONOMIQUE
Please let me explain why it appears that I can’t put my finger on the genre of this band, Astronomique. As you will see above, there are 12 separate genre descriptions. These are all the tags that the band, themselves, use on Soundcloud. The fact is, both the band and I know that all of these genre descriptions are true and accurate. Not allowed to have more than one or two simple genre descriptions? SAYS WHO?! If you are all of these sounds and genres, then be proud! Tell people what they can experience at your show, or when listening to your brand new LP, Sharp Divide, so that they know how broad your talent is.

That’s how Astronomique roll - honest, heartfelt, and carefree when it comes to the usual restraints of descriptions and genres in which we all get pigeonholed by others. Rather, why not let the audience, the fan, or the new person discovering your music subjectively decide how they feel about your music, and how they would describe you. Leave it up to the universe and the stars.

In the words of the late great Stephen Hawking (R.I.P. 2018), "Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious." Astronomique exemplify the sentiment of what Hawking was saying in this famous quote. 

The band name is taken from a French picture book, named Lunette Astronomique. It's translated meaning being:
Lunette – Glasses
Astronomique – Astronomical
Combined translation: Astronomical Telescope

You would only use an astronomical telescope to look at the stars (right?), not down at your feet (right?)... To try and make sense of what you are seeing (right?)... And to wonder what makes the universe exist (right?)... Being curious is what leads a band to having 12 genre tags on their Soundcloud page. Who is out there? What language would they speak or hear when they visit our planet (or the band’s Soundcloud page)? What dialect will they individually understand when I’m communicating with them?

The additional irony (if you care to "be curious," as Mr Hawking encouraged) is that just as a telescope can peer out into the universe, so too can a telescopic view of love, relationships, life, and existence be peered at. Astronomique sing about looking as deeply and as far within yourself and your human emotions as you would if you were peering out into space through a telescope. The difference is that they do it in the catchiest, hippest, sexiest, most 80’s disco/New Wave/post punk/Space-Wave way possible, so that you’re completely partying while surmising Logan’s introspection. I’d say that the band would make Mr. Hawking smile pleasantly with their level of "clever" curiosity and intelligence.

Now I’m not going to ruin anything, or go against the band’s own description of themselves and their sound. However, I am going to hone in a little more on what I heard when listening to Sharp Divide. Yes, I heard the "space-age electro psych-pop" that is outlined in Astronomique's bio. Yes, I heard the "organic, funky, element and fuzzed out guitars" plus the "hypnotic vocals" too. But I heard quite a bit more that isn’t outlined in their bio, and that isn’t included in all of the band's press reviews I've read so far. And let me get this straight... I agree with all that I have read from both the band’s own description and the praises being sung from all quarters of the musical press. But...

What I heard was simple, and beautiful. What I heard was a well-oiled unit who know how each other play, and instinctively and instrumentally orbit one another’s performance to give it exactly the precise amount of light and shade (hopefully you appreciate the lunar metaphor’s there?!).

Let me explain by focusing on the genre "feel" I got while listening to the following three tracks from Sharp Divide:

'Losing Our Control' (track 4):

A love song, using the stars as a metaphor for the unknown. Revolving around two entities being in the same gravitation pull, which openly speaks of Logan Fongemie seeing a love interest soon after a tryst. They see each other again, and from first glance, they know they are ‘losing their control’ towards each other. Awww. Nice.
This whole track opens with a crazy and captivating mix of both Daft Punk and Visage (Fade to grey) in sound, phrasing, and structure. In short, super cool and grooving from the get-go. This is a classic song about the question: "What’s the breaking strain of sexual tension?" "Who will snap first?"
I have to admit that 4 bars in, I couldn’t stop myself from immediately wanting to view a clip of this song's video to actually SEE if the band they looked the way they sound. And in fact, they do! I highly recommend viewing the music video for 'Losing Our Control.' Even if only for the telescope lens effect on the camera, which subliminally reminds you of the band's roots and name. But considering the message in the lyrics of this song, I thought the humor in Logan's phallic serpent-like mic stand was a great visual device too! Don’t forget that she's deciding upon relinquishing to the temptation of her male friend's charms.
So, I ask you... Name the genre of this track? Correct! That’s why the band has total poetic license to move genre with each track!!

'Sharp Divide' (track 5/title track):

I was still watching Astronomique's YouTube channel at this time. After watching 'Losing Our Control,' something very prophetic happened. A pre-roll advertisement for Cadbury chocolate appeared, and the strap line for the ad was, "It all starts when you just add marvellous." Perfect set-up for Astronomique's next song. Thanks Cadbury!
More a David Lynch-ish, lounge room, rainy day confession in sound, but really simple. I’m talking like the same sort of totally planned "simple" that ACDC perfected, and no other band could replicate. Simple so that each instrument and vocal melody has its own clear space to perform without treading on each other. Ethereal. Lyrically, the subject matter for this song is almost the antithesis of the previous dreamy "I see you and we both want each other" sentiment. 'Sharp Divide' outlines that things haven’t gone too well, or as planned. Oh well, that’s obviously what the universe decided...
Back to my point above, though. Astronomique possess ALL of the genre traits outlined in their Soundcloud tags, and ALL of the descriptions lauded upon them by others in their music press. But to me, they have a very clever and planned mystique that is above all of the other descriptions. They have a purposeful hypnotic "two person private confessional" vibe with a catchy song structure that, irrespective of your perspective, is 100% danceable. They obviously "just added marvellous" too!

'Bleed Me' (track 8)

Of all tracks on Sharp Divide, this one has the most Euro-funk/disco/New Wave/Space Wave genre feel to it. ‘Bleed Me’ has radio high rotation written all over it. It’s the track a young couple want to hear (on a loop) at the end of the night after they’ve absconded to a booth in the dark back corner of the underground club they’re in together...when their friends think they’ve already gone home. It's a really clear demonstration of the tight relationship between the band's rhythm section too. Solid drumming with bass licks and chords that fill a room with a vibe that screams "Tequila shots and dancing!" That is, if you’re not already engaged in the booth at the back of the room.
Listening to ‘Bleed Me’ made me wish I was at the LP launch Saturday night at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis with my friends from Tinderbox Music, getting into the music and forgetting my age, or who’s watching. It would have been fun.

Excellent live sound and feel with passionate lyrics that are matched with a haunting and angelic voice. That’s how I would describe Astronomique. If you don’t stream this LP or go and see the band live, you should go out and buy a cat for companionship. So you have someone to share your loneliness with!

-The Music Producer

Tracks On LP: 
one FOREFATHERS (3:46)
two SIDE OF YOUR MIND (3:07)
three WE DISAPPEAR (3:06)
four LOSING OUR CONTROL (3:38) 
five SHARP DIVIDE (3:16) 
six SMOKE (4:09)
seven UNSPOKEN (3:44)
eight BLEED ME (3:08) 
nine HARDLY DELIBERATE (3:52)
ten HEADING NOWHERE (3:47)

RECORDED and MIXED by Knol Tate
MASTERED by Mystery Room Mastering

DISCOGRAPHY:
MIMIC FORMS (Single) Self Released 2017
ASTRONOMIQUE (EP) Self Released 2016
*CMJ top 200 for 4 weeks, peaking at #130
COLLIDE (Single) Self Released 2014
BURNING STARS FADE (EP) Self Released 2014
*CMJ RPM top 40 for 3 weeks, peaking at #34

sleeping bag studios review: 'losing our control'

ASTRONOMIQUE: 'LOSING OUR CONTROL' - SINGLE REVIEW

So much yes to this!

Astronomique sounds like an immaculate blend of many things I love in the music scene on their new single, Losing Our Control.  I really dig the vibes they create on this tune…it’s a smart combination of sound that is certain to appeal to the indie crowd out there in all kinds of ways.  Take the Peter Bjorn & John-like production…the theatrical approach of a band like Hooverphonic…the post-punk rhythm & groove of a band like The Cure…add in a sprinkle of The Subways, Belly – or even Echobelly for that matter, just to add some more artistic flavor & perspective into the mix. And voila, you’ve got yourself something close to the sound of Astronomique.

Guitarist Sean Hogan and bassist Preston Saari know what I’m talking about. The unbelievably awesome chops they put on display here could practically fit right into The Cure’s catalog (a song like “Lullaby” for example). The entire band will go on to prove they’re built on remarkable strengths, but you’re likely to notice the stunning skills of this pair of axe-holders first. The guitars have amazing tone and ideas, and that bass NEVER quits flowing with incredible rhythm. The way they interact and complement each other is pure perfection.  With the added keyboards and the stunning, shimmering, melodic, and haunting vocals from Logan Andra Fongemie – and especially the way this song opens-up and expands brightly in the chorus – Astronomique does well to add their own signature stamp on the sound overall, and offer their own twists to it. Even though they’ve got themselves categorized as Darkwave Synthpop on their social media pages, while it does qualify, it’s also not likely what you’re typically expecting Darkwave Synthpop to be like - ya feel me? The electro-elements, keyboards, and atmosphere definitely play a massive role. But overall, you’ll find that this band relies quite confidently on the strength of their musicianship and not just clever programming. The authentic and organic sound this band brings together to formulate a dreamy creation like Losing Our Control is damn magical. I love what I’m hearing here.  I love the distance in the vocal-mix. I love the echoes and backing vocals complementing the lead as well. I gotta admit, Logan has the kind of style, approach and sound that I could listen to for days. Angelic, graceful, raw, real – Logan mixes emotions and thoughts magnificently through the lyrics and gives weight to the words she sings by finding the right energy to match the vibe and pulse of the song spectacularly well. Mitch Billings (I haven’t forgotten about you brother), you’re holding it down rock-solid on the drums back there. I hear ya, not a beat out of place, sir, and great tone on those hits of yours.

What I think ultimately is that there’s quite a bit going on here that should be paid attention to.  The more I listened to Losing Our Control, the more I felt myself happily repeating a beautifully hypnotic vibe I never seemed to ever want to end.  I mean, I’d get up for the occasional cup of coffee like I always do – but that’s on me and my own addiction, not on them. But the moment it was brewed, I’d be right back to listening to this single from their new Sharp Divide album...which is coming out like, days around the corner from now on June 8th this year. Got a highlighter pen or something to circle the date with? Good to hear! You SHOULD want something like this for your ears – treat yo’self!

Because for reals people…I’m not even quite sure if I can describe it in-full myself. But I know awesome when I hear it, and this is that.  There’s something blissfully special in this combination of sound, the writing, the interaction in the musicianship, and relationship between the players in this band. Best way I can think to put it, is that a lead-single as strong as Losing Our Control leaves me with no doubt whatsoever that what we’re likely to find on the 'Sharp Divide' album is going to be equally awesome. Astronomique is impressively focused and perhaps even more skilled when it comes right down to it – and my gut tells me that they’re really on to something.  I think the attention to detail and remarkable skill on display throughout the incredible flow of this artistically-inclined subtle groove speaks volumes on behalf of what this band is capable of, and the unique potential that exists in Astronomique. I really think this band from Minneapolis is bound to have created something massively moving and memorable on 'Sharp Divide' after what I’ve heard in this lead-single. I love every second of Losing Our Control.

-Jer, Sleeping Bag Studios

secrets of the city plugs 'sharp divide' release show

WEEKEND PLANNER:

We've been waiting for C. Kostra to play a show with New Wave upstarts, Astronomique, and it's finally happening with Phantom Tails at the 7th Street Entry on Saturday, June 9.

Tickets: http://event.etix.com/ticket/online/performanceSale.do?performance_id=8085148&method=restoreToken

Secrets of the City

fw reviews features 'sharp divide' lp

'SHARP DIVIDE' - ASTRONOMIQUE

Astronomique are a space odyssey style band from Minneapolis, MN. Their name has been borrowed from a French picture book called ‘Lunette Astronomique,’ and it suits them perfectly! 

Their latest album is a 10-track beautifully and lovingly crafted piece of work. The band describe their music as ‘space-age electro psych-pop’. They have achieved their aim. We took an audio tour around the solar system while enjoying this very well executed first album. 

The opening track, ‘Forefathers,’ sets the scene beautifully as to what is to come. There is a gorgeous synth opening followed by very well mixed drums, equipped with a snappy snare, and filled with texture and balance. A lot of thought and precision has gone into the musical melodies accompanying the vocals. Two separate instrumental parts can be heard panned in either ear, working together as one with the main leading light: the stunning lead vocals. The chorus is also sublime, accented with an unobtrusive tambourine, carrying proceedings through and giving life and soul to a harmonious tune.

Another stand out track is ‘We Disappear,' which captures synths working together in unison, separated only by octaves. We believe this song would be a strong single choice. There is a recurring theme in the opening synth riffs, which come in and out, and feel like an old friend when they reappear. This track is unmistakably Astronomique. It is catchy, thought provoking and welcoming. Again, the tambourine is used in the correct measure for a supportive back bone to a thought provoking song.

We also adored ‘Smoke’. The instruments offer interesting chord progressions and unexpected twists and turns. The delay on the vocals is very long, and this is works well in adding sustenance to the track. The guitar riffs have their own themes, working independently of each other, while still sounding as one.

There is no denying the musicianship on this album. Each player somehow manages to do their own thing while still coming together as a whole. This can only be accomplished to such a high standard by musicians who really know their craft. The vocals are smooth and delicate, while still packing a catchy punch. The bass and guitars are funky and interesting, showcasing their own style, technique, and flare. The drums provide the heartbeat, shining in the background while keeping everything together. The synths give a new wave feel, reinventing an 80’s classic style in an innovative, made-for-the-2010’s way. 

While the instrumentation on the album is similar on each song, they all have their own unique personalities. The familiar instruments make for a cohesive and inclusive piece of art.

Overall, we were very impressed with the balance of the album. Much like the solar system, the instruments do their own thing but work in harmony together. 

A summer classic for sure and we can’t wait to hear what comes next!

-FW Reviews

warlock asylum premiere: 'losing our control'

'LOSING OUR CONTROL' BY ASTRONOMIQUE

Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Astronomique comes with a soulful brand of darkwave and synth-pop that is simply nostalgic genius! Consisting of band members Logan Andra Fongemie (vocals, keyboards), Sean Hogan (guitar, vocals), Mitch Billings (drums, vocals), and Preston Saari (bass guitar), Astronomique has cleverly crafted a unique sound by the reinvention of elements derived from 60’s psychedelic rock, the energy behind 70’s b-graded sci-fi films, and a deep infatuation for early-80’s post-punk and dark romanticism. The band’s recent single, Losing Our Control, provides an electrifying testimony of Astronomique’s inventiveness and symphonic creativity.

Losing Our Control is the first single off of Astronomique’s debut full-length album, titled 'Sharp Divide.' This is a really funky tune that grabs your attention, groove first. The dialogue between the bass and rhythm guitar is quite seductive, and Logan’s voice as the lead is definitively the icing on the cake. Losing Our Control is love at first sight for music enthusiasts, devotees of synth-pop, and people who love music of traditional high quality. Welcome to the world of the rewind-button addiction! This track has tremendous commercial potential without losing its melodious organic terrain. Thanks to Astronomique, losing our control is the best way to enjoy their music!

-Warlock Asylum

Skope Magazine Review: 'sharp divide' lp

ASTRONOMIQUE – ‘SHARP DIVIDE'

Can music have the potential to make the mind float in the stars?

Can music alone provoke a mind to experience a long odyssey between sound, resonance, and sonic waves, to find the true elements of a fine melody?

Well, if you listen to Astronomique’s latest music album, Sharp Divide, you will definitely lose control over your mind and get lost in the sound, vibes, melody, and the general splendor the album creates. Like the name, Astronomique creates a celestial vibe through the sound and mood of this album. The music is a collection of dark romanticism and '80s post-punk that the crew of Astronomique has created with their skillful music-craftsmanship. A wave of tremendous energy and the intense vibe runs through the songs of Sharp Divide, arousing one's senses and provoking the mind of the listener to experience a journey from this world to another unknown land - one that is dominated by the power of music and sound.

In Sharp Divide, the indie-rock band, Astronomique, has created an infectious sound with mind-blowing dance beats, electrifying yet silky guitar notes, psychotropic waves of synth, and compelling yet mesmeric vocals. Sharp Divide is a collection of ten infectious and psychedelic soundtracks that will play for 36 minutes, while kindling the mind and soul with sparks of fantastic dreamy pop. The sound and melodies resonate a bold feeling among the audience, almost as if they are in the middle of a house party. While the titles of these ten tracks are no surprise, what they envelop is most awe-inspiring, leaving the audience jaw-dropped.

Besides composing spell-binding melodies, Astronomique has shown their talent for weaving hypnotic and beautiful lyrics about human life and its exploration of love, peeling off layer after layer. While Astronomique has chosen love, romanticism, and the journey of life as the theme of Sharp Divide, they have selected a wonderful backdrop to set the theme. It is the proportioned mixture of the '60s freaky hallucinogenic vibes with a slight twist of '80s romantic songs. And the lyrical potion holds no such complications that the audience cannot interpret. The lyrics of these ten songs, in fact, convey the raw and intimate passion of the human heart in a polished manner, one that anyone can relate to.

Of all the tracks found on the new record, Astronomique released ”Losing Our Control” first - probably to provide the audience a hint of what will be served on the platter of Sharp Divide. With a unique sound and texture, this song evokes a '60s vibe, keeping the contemporary mood intact. The song plays out with subtlety and a deeply-buried intense emotion within it. The charming vocals, persuading sound and melody, proportionately used instrumentals, captivating lyrics, etc., together make this track a compelling one.

Astronomique knows the secret recipe of how to make their sound enthralling and swaying at once, sweeping the audience off their feet. Sharp Divide is bringing forth a combination of emotional and sentimental rawness, as well as human experience in dealing with these feelings,  encapsulated in the music craftsmanship and melodic excellence of Astronomique.

9.5/10 Stars

– Leslie Smith, Skope Magazine

Middle Tennessee Music premiere: 'Sharp Divide' LP

ASTRONOMIQUE TAKES US ON A SPACEY, PSYCH-ROCK JOURNEY ON NEW ALBUM, 'SHARP DIVIDE'

Get ready to jam with Minneapolis based psych-pop-space-rockers, Astronomique, as they guide us through the soundtrack of their newest space wave journey, Sharp Divide.

From the moment I clicked play, I knew I was in for a sonic treat. Hypnotic vocals, melodically rich elements from surf-rock-esque guitars and synth-fueled arpeggiators, and smooth, body swayin’ rhythms join forces to stimulate our senses as we journey through the 10 tracks included on Sharp Divide.

From the opening Forefathers to the psych-poppin’ Losing Our Control; through the darker, grittier Smoke until we reach the mysterious, driving and hypnotic ending Heading Nowhere; Astronomique put on full display their ability to masterfully craft scintillating cosmic arrangements, as well as display an undeniable musicality we can find comfort in as this crew of highly talented musicians navigate our space odyssey.

Astronomique is Logan Andra Fongemie (lead vocals, keys, lyrics), Sean Hogan (guitar, vocals), Mitch Billings (drums, vocals) and last, but never least, Preston Saari (bass guitar). If you ever in or around the Minneapolis area, I suggest catching these guys live. Here is their gig schedule.

Astronomique is available on Bandcamp or you can listen below.

Connect directly with the band on their official websiteFBIG or Twitter.

- Joshua Smotherman, Middle Tennessee Music

NEW RELEASE! 'SHARP DIVIDE' LP

SHARP DIVIDE LP (35:33)

After ranking #16 on NACC's top 30 adds chart, as well as #5 on NACC's top 5 electronic adds chart (the highest ranking self-released record on these charts), Sharp Divide LP spent 4 weeks (to date) on the NACC top 200 chart, peaking at #115.

Sharp Divide LP (72dpi).jpg

Tracks:

1.    Forefathers (3:46)

2.    Side of Your Mind (3:07)

3.    We Disappear (3:06)

4.    Losing Our Control (3:38) **

5.    Sharp Divide (3:16) **

6.    Smoke (4:09)

7.    Unspoken (3:44)

8.    Bleed Me (3:08) **

9.    Hardly Deliberate (3:52)

10.    Heading Nowhere (3:47)

  ** Recommended single

Produced and recorded by by Knol Tate
Mastered by Mikey Young

Logan Andra Fongemie: Lead vocals, synth, lyrics, artwork
Sean Hogan: Guitar, vocals
Mitch Billings: Drums, vocals
Kristof Marden: Bass guitar

Available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and Spotify.

viral sound features 'losing our control'

ASTRONOMIQUE - 'LOSING OUR CONTROL' FROM THE ALBUM, 'SHARP DIVIDE'

As the name suggests, it’s clear that Astronomique is on a space odyssey. The sounds, the vibe, the imagery all have the feeling of floating amongst the stars. The band arose by merging Fongemie’s love of ‘60s psychedelia and Hogan’s passion for late ‘70s B-Grade sci-fi films with both members’ equal adoration for early ‘80s post punk and dark romanticism. It’s no surprise that these elements naturally progressed to what the band half jokingly calls, “Space Wave.” With a name borrowed from a French picture book out of Fongemie’s childhood, Lunette Astronomique, their influences are fondly conveyed. The addition of Billings on drums and Saari on bass brings an organic, funky element to the band’s unique brand of space-age electro psych-pop.

Fusing infectious dance beats with darkly beautiful waves of psychedelic synths, fuzzed out guitars, and hypnotic vocals, the honesty and easy-going nature of Minneapolis band Astronomique shows through on their latest release, Sharp Divide. The 10-track, 36-minute LP matches dark disco with dreamy pop to fantastic effect. It’s moody enough to be alluring while retaining the essential delight of a house party. Fongemie’s lyrics explore the depths of life and love amidst a backdrop of ‘60s psychedelia, but conveyed with an ‘80s love song twist – something to which we can all relate. Sharp Divide finds the band contemplating cosmic inquiries, reflecting on regrets, pondering our collective existential identity, and revisiting the raw passion of human experience that has always embodied the heart of Astronomique.

Logan Andra Fongemie / lead vocals, keys, lyrics
Sean Hogan / guitar, vocals
Mitch Billings / drums, vocals
Preston Saari / bass guitar

- Viral Sound

dancing about architecture review: 'losing our control'

SCENE AND HEARD: 'LOSING OUR CONTROL' - ASTRONOMIQUE

Somewhere near the point where '80s soft-focus pop meets modern synth-driven indie, where swirling dream-pop meets ambient, late night dance...you find Astronomique and 'Losing Our Control' - a seamless blend of commerciality and cultish cool, of past pop peaks and indie future potential. It is music that both grooves and shimmers in equal measure, which is not an easy trick to pull off. But Astronomique's confident back beats and pulsing bass combined with staccato guitars, hazy vocals, and electronic wash of ambient atmospherics balance these two opposite sonic worlds to perfection.

This is a tantalizing glance at what chilled out dance music can be...what pop is capable of if it stopped chasing the dollar and started chasing perfection. It may sound as if I am over-selling the case somewhat, but give it a few years when everyone is trying to emulate the musical eloquence of Astronomique, and I will just copyright the phrase “I told you so” and retire comfortably on the proceeds.

- Dave Franklin, Dancing About Architecture